Muslims wear protective masks while attending Friday prayers inside the Al-Azhar mosque in the ancient Islamic region of Cairo, while Egypt is stepping up efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Cairo, Egypt March 20, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta warned Sunday against calls to hold mass Ramadan evening prayers, or Taraweeh, on house roofs amid the coronavirus pandemic, less than a week before the beginning of the Islamic fasting month Friday.
Dar Al-Ifta, the body responsible for issuing religious edicts, called on Muslims to conduct Taraweeh in homes, whether individually or within a group, amid the continued closure of mosques under preventive measures against coronavirus.
“The calls by some on assembly on house roofs for Taraweeh is not permitted at such times, because this endangers people’s lives,” the statement said, urging worshippers to avoid large crowds in prayer.
The statement by the religious body comes amid calls on social media to hold mass Ramadan evening prayers on roofs in response to the lockdown on mosques.
Egypt ordered the closure of mosques and churches 21 March for two weeks in a move aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus. The closure was extended indefinitely at the end of March.
Egyptian authorities said all congregational religious activities, including communal prayers in mosques, will continue to be suspended during Ramadan.
Other public activities planned for Ramadan, such as charity banquets for the poor to break their fast, have also been suspended.
A two-week nighttime curfew, which first began 25 March, was extended until 23 April.
The curfew is expected to be extended during the month of Ramadan, according to a Cabinet spokesman last week, yet new curfew hours for the Islamic month are set to be determined this week.